It’s easy to see the beauty and artistry of woodturning when you’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful wooded country in America. For 20 years, the Smoky Mountain Woodturners have been meeting in East Tennessee surrounded by native trees like sugar maple, black walnut, eastern red cedar, dogwood and boxelder.
The club was founded in 1993 and originally met at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. For several years, the club split time between Gatlinburg and Knoxville, Tennessee. Eventually the club moved to Knoxville permanently and has called the Knoxville Woodcraft store home for well over 10 years.
Located within a 90-minute drive to the Arrowmont school, a world-class teaching facility, and the energetic artist’s community of Gatlinburg, the legacy of wood artistry in the area is strong. Several early members have gone on to become prominent wood artists at the national level including founding member Ralph Watts, Member Emeritus. Many regional and local artists are or have been members of our club including early members Jacki and Janis Proffit, known for their intricately textured and burned items.
And, of course, we boast of many enthusiastic hobbyists who are learning, teaching and experimenting with the wonderful world of woodturning. In recent years, we have had the honor of hosting world-class turners such as David Ellsworth, Mark Gardner and Frank Penta for demonstrations and hands-on workshops.
Each year, the members of the club turn Christmas ornaments to be auctioned off at Knoxville’s annual Fantasy of Trees with all proceeds going to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Trees decorated with turned ornaments have raised as much as $1500 for Children’s Hospital. We also participate in the Woodcraft-sponsored Turn for the Troops by turning pens for the US military stationed around the world.
We thank those who have come before us who have made the Smoky Mountain Woodturners a vibrant and exciting artistic community! Twenty years and counting!